Arsenal vs. Tottenham: 6 Things We Learned
Arsenal dispatched Spurs in ruthless fashion in the North London derby on Saturday, running out 5-2 winners and replicating the same scoreline as last season.
Emmanuel Adebayor foolishly got himself sent off for a reckless tackle on Santi Cazorla, and from then on there was only to be one winner in this game.
Is it time to panic for Spurs fans? Does Andre Villas-Boas deserve to be under more pressure?
Is everything rosy at The Emirates now? Or does this victory only paper over the cracks that Arsene Wenger has failed to address this summer?
Here is what we learned from Saturday's big game.
Olivier Giroud Is Almost Back to His Montpellier Form
Olivier Giroud has suffered a tough beginning to his Arsenal career with plenty of criticism for several mediocre performances.
The French international has addressed this in recent weeks—triggered in part to his international form for Les Bleus—and appears to be a new player now that he has found his confidence in front of goal again.
Giroud might not be the most deadly striker in Europe, but he is more than adequate for Arsenal's needs, operating in the area and providing a consistent presence for the Gunners' to play off.
The former Montpellier star now has four goals in his last three matches and looks to be the same player that forced Arsene Wenger to pay La Paillade £10.56 million.
Villas-Boas Must Decide What Vertonghen Is
Andre Villas-Boas simply must decide whether Jan Vertonghen is his left-back or his centre-back.
Vertonghen is probably Spurs' best defender and when the former Ajax star was moved into the middle against Arsenal, he appeared quite uncomfortable, given that he has predominantly played at left-back of late.
For the Spurs defence to generate some stability and establish a calming influence when in possession at the back, they will need to have Vertonghen playing at his best. After all, Vertonghen is an excellent passer and has superb technique to initiate Spurs attacks.
Villas-Boas Must Not Be Too Disheartened by This Defeat
Andre Villas-Boas must not lose too much confidence after this 5-2 defeat at the hands of their North London rivals.
The Portuguese tactician was bold enough to attack the Gunners with two strikers—Jermaine Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor—in a 4-4-2 formation. And it nearly worked, as they led 1-0 until the Togolese striker needlessly got himself sent off.
After Spurs went down to 10 men, Arsenal clearly dominated and deserved their emphatic victory, but AVB will know that Adebayor hung him out to dry, and from that point on a defeat was to be expected.
Sandro Would Walk into Every Premier League Side's XI
Sandro has developed into a terrific centre-midfielder and an indispensable part of Villas-Boas' side moving forward.
In fact, it is laughable to think that there was a debate as to whether the Brazilian would be able to hold his place down in the side when Scott Parker returned from injury.
The former Internacional star is ready-made for the Premier League with his aggressive, dynamic style. His work-rate is tremendous and the relentless energy to press and harass the opposition is an invaluable commodity in the modern game.
I would go as far as to say that Sandro has developed so much of late—with the help of extra experience generated by a starring role in Mano Menezes' Brazil—that he would be able to start for every Premier League side.
Arsenal's Defence Is a Shambles
Arsenal might have secured an excellent victory in the North London derby, but Arsene Wenger knows that there are deeper issues that still remain.
The Gunners are appalling at the back of late—conceding 12 goals in the last four matches—and have seemingly been bailed out by their formidable front line and the emergence of Olivier Giroud as a legitimate threat in the penalty area.
Thomas Vermaelen has endured a horrid season and looks vulnerable every time the opposition run at him, while Laurent Koscielny never looks like the type of centre-back to take control and responsibility.
When the French international has Per Mertesacker by his side, the German's extreme lack of pace always gives the opposition a chance to hurt them, too.
Bacary Sagna is a class act who will eventually return to the excellent form he achieved before he picked up a serious injury.On the other flank, however, Kieron Gibbs remains a consistent casualty, and until he can produce a run of a dozen games in succession, the back line will always remain unsettled.
Szczesny Should Not Feel Too Comfortable as a Starter
Wojciech Szczesny returned to the starting lineup for Arsenal today, displacing Vito Mannone, who has stepped in for the Poland international since his injury.
Mannone, while hardly faultless, can feel a little aggrieved that he was shunted out of the team this quickly.
But the Italian stopper must surely feel that his chance will return soon enough, as Szczęsny looks like he has a mistake in him each time he steps onto the field.
Jermain Defoe's shot was hardly venomous, and Szczesny could only parry the ball softly into the path of Adebayor, who gobbled up the chance from barely six yards out.
While Wenger will surely know that his goalkeeper must feel like he has the faith of the manager, there is a fine line between maintaining him in the lineup and not giving the alternatives a fair opportunity when it arises.